Trump at­tracts racists

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Charles Badger Charles Badger is an ad­viser to R4C16.org, a grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion of Repub­li­cans for Clin­ton in 2016. He was for­merly di­rec­tor of coali­tions for Gov. Jeb Bush’s 2016 cam­paign, where he over­saw African-Amer­i­can and Asian-Amer­i­can outre

Don­ald Trump went af­ter Hil­lary Clin­ton in Bal­ti­more on Mon­day and in a new ad for her “bas­ket of de­plorables” com­ment. But un­less your Twit­ter avatar is an egg, you fol­low “white geno­cide” han­dles and are afraid of taco trucks, she’s not talk­ing about you. The only thing more laugh­able than Don­ald Trump’s whin­ing about name-calling is the pun­dit pearl-clutch­ing over Ms. Clin­ton calling the Trump Move­ment ex­actly what it is.

There are racists in ev­ery party and among ev­ery can­di­date’s sup­port­ers. The dif­fer­ence be­tween can­di­dates is how they re­spond to this fact. “He’s an Arab,” one woman said of Barack Obama in 2008. John McCain took the mi­cro­phone from her and chided, “No, ma’am.” At the 1996 con­ven­tion Bob Dole told racists: “The ex­its, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of.” Ron­ald Rea­gan told the 1984 GOP con­ven­tion: “Many peo­ple are wel­come in our house, but not the big­ots.”

Un­like the cur­rent GOP nom­i­nee who feigns ig­no­rance about the Ku Klux Klan, in 1992 Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush de­nied David Duke the abil­ity to run un­der the GOP la­bel, and the party blocked him from get­ting on the bal­lot. Then-Wis­con­sin GOP Chair Scott Walker de­bated Mr. Duke, de­fend­ing the GOP’s de­ci­sion.

In 2008, AFL-CIO Pres­i­dent Richard Trumka called out racism at the heart of the Democrats’ coali­tion — or­ga­nized la­bor. “We can’t tap dance around the fact,” he said, “that’s there’s a lot of … union peo­ple [who] just can’t get past the idea that there’s some­thing wrong with vot­ing for a black man.”

No other ma­jor can­di­date since the pas­sage of the Civil Rights Act has done as Mr. Trump has and so glee­fully lux­u­ri­ated in his racist sup­port. Pri­mary polling shows:

One in 3 Trump vot­ers thinks World War II Ja­panese in­tern­ment was a good idea, three times more than Marco Ru­bio’s and John Ka­sich’s sup­port­ers.

One in 5 Trump vot­ers thinks Abra­ham Lin­coln was wrong to is­sue the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion, four times more than sup­port­ers of Messrs Ru­bio or Ka­sich.

What pre­dicts sup­port of Mr. Trump, even more than be­ing a Repub­li­can, is be­lief that Pres­i­dent Obama is a Mus­lim.

Vot­ers who scored high­est on the Rand Cor­po­ra­tion’s Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion Panel Sur­vey’s mea­sure of “Racial Re­sent­ment” were 44 per­cent more likely to sup­port Mr. Trump than any of his GOP ri­vals.

To see how these num­bers creep up to­ward the “half” Hil­lary ref­er­enced, we need a more so­phis­ti­cated lens. There ex­ists a “kind of gen­tle, good-na­tured racism, but racism none-the-less,” Ge­orge Will re­minds, such as the kind that called Wil­lie Mays a “nat­u­ral,” rather than in­tel­li­gent player. “30 years on, we can hear — with our bet­ter trained ears — the racism in that,” Mr. Will cau­tions. The 2016 elec­tion re­quires we sum­mon those bet­ter­trained ears. Birtherism is code. The Star of David on a pile of cash is code.

What com­mands a still higher num­ber of ad­her­ents than the ex­plic­itly racist views — in­tern­ment, slav­ery, etc. — are be­liefs about the causes of racial in­equal­ity in our coun­try. This is why, so­ci­ol­o­gist Tressie McMil­lan Cot­ton ex­plains, “Ev­ery con­ver­sa­tion about re­sources in the United States is also a con­ser­va­tion about race.”

Ex­hibits A, B, and C: Pub­lic opin­ion over­es­ti­mates the num­ber of mi­nori­ties on wel­fare, and pub­lic sup­port for govern­ment pro­grams de­pends sub­stan­tially “on who its ben­e­fi­cia­ries are per­ceived to be.” And far larger num­bers of Trump vot­ers, than Clin­ton, Ka­sich and Cruz vot­ers, think black peo­ple are “lazier” and “more vi­o­lent” than white peo­ple.

Race also ex­plains why Mr. Trump talks very dif­fer­ently about drugs — com­pas­sion­ate vs. Dra­co­nian — de­pend­ing on whether he’s in Detroit, on the bor­der, or in New Hamp­shire.

Where the math gets im­per­cep­ti­ble — war­rant­ing Hil­lary an as­ter­isk for her “half” es­ti­mate — is: It’s un­clear where those who think, “I don’t want my taxes go­ing to un­de­serv­ing ends” stops and the group who thinks “to be black is, ipso facto, to be un­de­serv­ing” be­gins.

Past GOP nom­i­nees cared to ask vot­ers to be­long to the first group, even if they tac­itly de­pended — how­ever re­luc­tantly — on vot­ers of group two, as well. Mr. Trump, by con­trast, dis­plays an amoral­ism which mer­rily beds all suit­ors, be they Nazi-hash­tag fol­low­ers, cross-burn­ers, or Russian bag­men. His cyn­i­cism — as Joe Bi­den said — knows no bounds.

MARK MAKELA/GETTY IM­AGES

A Don­ald Trump sup­porter in Penn­syl­va­nia dis­plays a lit­eral in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s re­cent com­ment that half of Trump’s sup­port­ers in the pres­i­den­tial race fit into a “bas­ket of de­plorables.”

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